Taiwan can breathe easier but just a little after new generators went online

TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) - Two new generators are operational, though the threat of a red alert still hangs over the country after a third generator failed to launch properly.

Two new power generators went online Wednesday but a third failed to launch properly, as energy consumption once again approach a record high.

Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) has hoped that the new generators — coal generator No. 1 at Talin Power Plant and liquid natural gas generators No. 6 at Tongxiao Power Plant and No. 7 at Tatan Power Plant — could meet the nation's thirst for electricity after consumption hit an all-time record of 36.266 gigawatts on Tuesday, putting the nation dangerously close to power rationing.

However, the Tatan generator failed to go online due to a problem with its activation switch, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, which supervises Taipower.

The other two units were launched successfully and were generating 0.215 gigawatts of electricity, putting the total national output at 37.19 gigawatts, according to Taipower.

If peak consumption on Wednesday does not exceed Taipower's estimation of 36.2 gigawatts, and if no currently operating generators run into trouble, reserve capacity would be at 0.99 gigawatts, slightly above the 0.9-gigawatt red alert threshold.

However, as of 2 p.m. Wednesday, updates on Taipower's website did not include the extra juice produced by the new units. As a result, the red alert — the second highest warning after the black alert, which typically entails power rationing — was still officially in place.

Ministry of Economic Affairs officials also said that repair work on the Taiping Power Plant, which was damaged by a typhoon late last month, was ahead of schedule and expected to be completed by Thursday.

The return to normal operations would add another 1.5 gigawatts to total national output, they added.

Taipower Should 'give up hope' on Nuclear Power: Taiwan Premier

Meanwhile, in an interview released Wednesday, Premier Lin Chuan stressed that the government would not reconsider its policy to phase out nuclear power and called on Taipower to "give up hope" of reversing this fate.

In the interview with the Economic Daily News, Lin said that Taipower had been putting too much thought into means of delaying the upcoming decommission of Taiwan's three nuclear plants. The company should instead focus on increasing power supply, he said.

Lin described 2017 as a watershed year in Taiwan's transition of energy structure and said the power supply situation would improve greatly in the next two years.


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